By Irma Gomez
*The headline of this article has been updated since publication to clarify that the peer mentors are paid workers*
The Academic Success Center is looking to hire ten new peer mentors for this upcoming fall. Peer mentors work a maximum of 15 hours a week, making it one of the highest paid student positions.
Although this is a paying position, current mentor, Jennifer Vazquez wants applicants to know about how rewarding the program can be. “Essentially, you are helping other students accomplish their goals. So you do have to be passionate about wanting to help others and be part of a team,” Vazquez said.
“As a peer mentor, I do different things. It depends on the mentee I am working with” Vazquez said. “It can be from social stuff like what’s going on in their life to academic things like helping them organize or study for a class,” Vazquez said. “College can be so stressful that these students just want someone going through the same thing as them to talk about rather than faculty or staff. I feel like I’m just that friend that they can always rely on and make sure they have someone that hears them whenever they need something.”
Peer mentors help students who are freshman, non-traditional students, students with disabilities, and anyone else who needs help. Besides helping students on a one-on-one basis, the mentors also create workshops and events for all students throughout the year.
“I’ve been a mentor for two years and my job consists of helping students, but also making posters and flyers for events.” Current mentor Tania Ortega said. “I was a mentee my freshman year and was encouraged by my mentor to apply. Although I am quiet, my mentor saw the potential in me to help others,” Ortega said.
Danielle Smith, associate director of the Academic Success Center, is looking for students who are confident, good listeners, and people who care and want to make a difference. “I’ve hired people who are very shy, but end up being my best mentors, just because they are quiet but understand and show empathy for others,” Smith said. “You can tell when you talk to someone if they really do care about other people.”
Mentors are required to attend staff meetings on Fridays, write notes after meeting with a mentee, and work in the office a minimum of six hours a week.
“This position really helps mentors prepare for a real job,” Smith said. “It gives them the skills and knowledge of working with a variety of students on a one-on-one basis. I’ve been here for five years, and I was able to get the position I have now because I was a peer mentor, and started as a student worker.”
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a peer mentor, the application can be found in Career Central or by reaching out to Danielle Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org. Application deadline is April 30.